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Dan McDonald | NCAA.com | November 6, 2018

College basketball: Bill Self says No. 1 Kansas needs 'to play at a higher level' beginning tonight against Michigan State

What squad can prevent Kansas' 15th consecutive Big 12 title?

The 2018 college basketball season is upon us and it couldn’t get off to a stronger, more exciting start.

Tonight at the Champions Classic in Indianapolis, No. 1 Kansas will take on No. 10 Michigan State at 7 pm followed by No. 2 Kentucky vs No. 4 Duke at 9:30 pm.

Kansas Jayhawks head coach Bill Self spoke with NCAA.com’s Andy Katz on this week’s episode of March Madness 365 and discussed how his team looks heading into its high-profile opener against the Spartans.

“I’m a little nervous because our team hasn’t played well, the pieces haven’t fit great yet," Self said. "I think guys are trying, but we certainly weren’t great in either exhibition game and we know we need to play at a much higher level than what we have.”

In addition to discussing how the maturation of his backcourt players, Self noted how important starting out with an elite matchup has been beneficial to past successful seasons.

“The thing about playing games like this early is they’re learning experiences to allow your team to be better. I think in the Champions Classic so far we’re 3-4. Some of the best years we’ve had we went on to be a 1-seed (in the NCAA Tournament) and got hammered in this thing. And maybe didn’t have as good a year as when we won the game early. It’ll give everyone a look a where their team is.”

Listen to the full conversation with Bill Self below as well as segments with Missouri’s Cuonzo Marin discussing the injury to Jontay Porter and ESPN analyst Seth Greenberg breaks down what to expect this season. Also, you can subscribe to the podcast here.

MORE: X's and O's breakdown of the Champions Classic
MORE: Predicting which team will win it all in the NCAA Tournament

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